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Pattaya Daily News

16 November 2009 :: 13:11:33 pm 5893

Thailand Beat Singapore 3-1 By Ex-S.League Stars

SINGAPORE – Bryan Robson made the ideal start in his first competitive match in charge of Thailand as they secured a 3-1 win over Singapore for their first victory in Group E of qualifying for the 2011 AFC Asian Cup.
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A brace from Sutee Suksomkit and another from Therdsak Chaiman, both of whom spent a number of seasons in Singapore’s S.League with Tampines Rovers and Singapore Armed Forces respectively, handed the Thais the three points while Fahrudin Mustafic converted a late penalty for the Lions.

The victory means Thailand leapfrog Singapore in the standings and Robson’s side have the chance to put further daylight between the two sides in the return encounter in Bangkok on Wednesday

Robson could not have hoped for a better start when his new charges took the lead in just the 10th minute.

Singapore midfielder Isa Halim handled a shot inside the area following a corner and the referee immediately pointed to the spot. Sutee stepped up confidently to rifle the spot-kick into the back of the net.

But instead of the game sparking into life after that goal, chances for either side dried up and it was not until shortly after the half-hour mark when Singapore finally registered a shot as John Wilkinson hit an effort high and wide of the target.

Shaiful Esah floated a free kick beyond the left upright in the 42nd minute for the hosts before Surat Sukha fizzed a shot into the side netting just before the break when he had hoped to catch the keeper unawares.

Datsakorn Thonglao struck a sweet effort from 25 yards that goalkeeper Hassan Sunny did well to palm over the bar soon after restart as Thailand began the second half in a similar fashion to that they had the first.

Singapore should have done better soon after though when Wilkinson was sent clear on goal but the midfielder chose to square a pass for Aleksandar Duric when he was better placed to shoot.

The hosts again came close again just after the hour mark when Shahril Ishak played a fine defence-splitting pass to send Duric through but the veteran forward was ushered wide and his cut back into the box was cleared.

But Singapore were dealt a sucker-punch when Thailand scored a second on the counter-attack with 15 minutes remaining.

Suchao Nutnum whipped in a dangerous cross from the left and Therdsak timed his run to perfection to meet the ball with a vicious volley that gave Sunny no chance.

The victory was made certain in the 80th minute when Sutee was sent clear on goal and the striker made no mistake to fire a low shot beyond the goalkeeper.

Thailand’s defence was breached for the first time in the qualifiers, however, when a Singapore player was brought down inside the area and Mustafic sent the spot kick into the top corner of the goal with six minutes remaining.

Thailand’s first win and also the first time they have scored in the qualifying campaign – put them on the second place with five points from three matches in Group E.

In the other match of Group E on Sunday night ,Iran remained top of Group E after Javad Nekounam’s second-half header settled a hard-fought AFC Asian Cup qualifying encounter with 10-man Jordan.

The result means that with three matches to go in Group E, Iran is two points clear of Thailand on seven, with Singapore slipped to third on three points and Jordan bottom, two points further back.

The top two sides from each of the five qualifying groups advance to the 2011 finals in Qatar.

Singapore must now beat Thailand at Bangkok’s Rajamangala stadium on Wednesday to keep alive their hopes of making it to the finals.

Bryan Robson insists in the press conference after the game that he will not be happy until Thailand have secured their place in Qatar despite winning his first competitive match in charge of the national team in a 3-1 AFC Asian Cup qualifier win over Singapore.

The win was Thailand’s first in Group E and another victory over Singapore in the return game on Wednesday would leave them well placed to qualify for the Asian Cup.

“It is great to win my first competitive game but my job is to qualify and I need to succeed in that and only then will I be happy,” said former Manchester United and England midfielder Robson.

“This is a good result for us and we must now start preparing for Wednesday. It is important we recover for the next game. It is only half the job done and we need to complete the job.

“I’m only thinking about getting a positive result on Wednesday and I don’t want to think further than that.”

Although Thailand scored twice in the second half, Singapore had been the better side for large portions and Robson admitted there is still room for improvement.

“We started the game very well and we kept our shape which we had trained for that. It gave us the platform to create chances. That was very pleasing with our passing movement. “ Robson said.

However, the former Manchester United captain was not happy with the way Thailand conceded the penalty.

“In the second half, we got a little stretched but we played a very good counter-attacking game and we were a little fortunate when the ball bounced kindly for us. The second goal was a great move and finish from Therdsak. 

“What disappointed me was us losing concentration after playing really well. I do not want the team to lose concentration regardless of the score from now on. This is what we must improve.”

Robson warned that the wounded Lions could be more dangerous when they come to Bangkok on Wednesday.

“We have not yet qualified and I am thinking about the match on Wednesday,” he said.

Therdsak Chaiman , Ex.- Singapore’s Armed Forces player, said it was a great victory for Thailand.

“They talked a lot before the match that they were very good,” said the 36-year-old veteran who received a recall to the national team after two-year absence.

“The result proves that we are still better than Singapore.”

Singapore coach Radojko Avramovic, meanwhile, admitted he was shocked by the way his side played in the first half and although he was pleased with the improved display in the second period, he is keen for a much better overall performance on Wednesday.

“Next week is another game in Thailand and hopefully the ending will be different,” he said.

“Thailand beat a team that I did not recognize in the first half. How we played in the first half was totally unrecognizable from the team I see in training and in recent matches.

“In the second half we started to play and we had three 100% chances which we should have scored.

“We had some poor individual performances today and overall we found it difficult to break the Thais down. We will try to win over there for sure.”

Reporter : Jack Rames   Photo : Jack Rames   Category : Sports News

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